Twins Rally to Topple Mariners 7-4
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Lew Ford hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the seventh inning, Carlos Silva won for the first time since July 4 and the surging Minnesota Twins rallied past the Seattle Mariners 7-4 Friday night for their sixth straight victory.
Joe Mauer also homered and drove in two runs for Minnesota, which has won nine of 10. The Twins began the day 3 1/2 games behind AL wild-card leader Oakland.
Jeremy Reed connected for the Mariners.
With the score tied at 4 and two outs in the seventh, Ford hit a 1-0 pitch from Jeff Nelson into the left-field seats. It was the first three-run homer for the Twins since July 2.
Silva (8-6) allowed four runs _ three earned _ and eight hits in seven innings. He finally got some run support, too. Since his previous win, Minnesota had averaged 2.77 runs per game for Silva. His ERA during that span was 2.60.
Juan Rincon pitched a scoreless eighth, and Joe Nathan worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save in 34 tries.
George Sherrill (1-2) took the loss, giving up a bloop double to Justin Morneau when Willie Bloomquist overran the ball in short right field with one out in the seventh. Nelson replaced Sherrill two batters later.
Seattle had pinch-runner Jamal Strong on second with one out in the seventh, but Yorvit Torrealba flied out and Ichiro Suzuki grounded out.
In five innings, Seattle starter Gil Meche, winless since July 17, allowed three runs and five hits. Meche gave up 15 earned runs in 14 innings in his previous two starts.
Seattle nearly broke the game open in the third. Singles by Yuniesky Betancourt, Torrealba and Suzuki loaded the bases before an error by Morneau at first base allowed two runs to score. Raul Ibanez added a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 Mariners lead.
Silva helped his own cause to end the inning. After fielding Richie Sexson’s grounder, he threw to second, where Brent Abernathy tagged Bloomquist, who was diving back to the bag. From his seat, Abernathy threw out Sexson at first.
Mauer homered in the third, and Michael Cuddyer’s RBI double in the sixth tied it at 4.
Mauer had a sacrifice fly in the first, and Morneau’s run-scoring single made it 2-0 Twins.
Reed hit a solo home run for Seattle in the second.
Notes: Ford has five home runs this season, all three-run shots. ... Meche has not lost to Minnesota since July 24, 1999, going 5-0 with three no-decisions in that span. ... Meche has thrown at least 100 pitches 15 times this season, but he has completed at least seven innings only four times. ... Minnesota is honoring its 1965 AL championship team this weekend. Maria Versalles and Rick Oliva, children of Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva, performed the national anthem. ... One pitch after a foul ball knocked the wind out of him, Mauer threw out Adrian Beltre trying to steal second base in the fourth inning.